Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tradition Tuesday: Rumor Mills and Talk Radio Disappointments

It's true that the rough focus of this blog is the rivalry between the Kansas City Chiefs (represented by me) and the Denver Broncos (Cecil and Old No. 7 claim them). It's also true that nine years ago, we started The Tradition, in which we make annual pilgrimages to one another's stadiums for some damn good times. Tradition Tuesday is our weekly state-of-the-rivlary address. In it, we touch on both clubs, but today, I'll barely mention Denver, offering Seven one last shot at touching on the canning of the Rat before it becomes really, really old news.

'Round here, if a guy does the TalkRadios on a regular basis, he usually does this one or this one. It seems to me that older folks tend toward the latter, younger the former. And it seems to me that very few folks do both, though I'm sure there are some. I go the 610 route; always have. A couple of years ago, according to one personality in particular, managment there wanted to "go in a different direction." They made, in my estimation, one long-overdue decision, and a couple of bad ones. Or shall we say that they just weren't Wright. More on that, after the jump.

Briefly, though, I'm a bit pleased to say, that after who knows how many days of speculation, someone finally published some firm "Scott Pioli's in town" news. Lucky as always for Cecil, his favoritest journalist gets the credit. There are also new speculations hovering, ones tied to media functions slated for today, that Carl Peterson will be accepting employment elsewhere, like in Florida. The 610 Web site says the following:

"He's slated to join The Morning Sports Drive on 610 Sports Radio this morning at 8:10and meet the media for the final time in a 330pm newsconference (sic) to be aired live on 610 Sports Radio. This amidst reports that he may not be out of work for long, and that he may be in line for a front office job with the Miami Dolphins."

If that's the case, good for Carl. I wish him the best, and thank him for his contributions to the franchise.

Mr. Nick Wright of KCSP 610 AM, on the other hand, has some retooling to do; the ol' noggin', as it were, has gotten a bit cobwebby. Let's put it this way, his co-worker, Neal Jones (who takes the four-hour slot before Wright), along with most anybody with any intelligence, has been campaigning for Herm Edwards to go, that the new GM can't afford to gamble on another year with him as head coach. Support for the contrary lacks common sense. It really does.

Like most men, on December 23, I started my Christmas shopping. At the time, Jones was on the air, and luckily, I had it done shortly after Wright (not even three hours total) took the mic. I had some time to kill, and decided to pop in to a dive for a beer and a burger, and en route to the joint, Wright offered considerable contributions to my already-alarming road rage. I got to the bar and sat in the parking lot, listening to his sheer idiocy (Editor's Note: For the record, I've heard his program many times before, and don't always find it terrible.). Eventually, I'd had enough, and I went in to place my order: a bacon cheeseburger, a Pabst, a water with no ice, and four blank guest checks; these thoughts had to be penned immediately. Understand, I was mad, and in the haste of the moment, I said some things that weren't nice. What follows is my letter to him.

Nick --

I've been listening to 610 for about five years. The resignation of Chiefs General Manager Carl Peterson has given Kansas City talk radio a plethora of material. Neal Jones has received many e-mails and texts calling him an idiot for his stance on Herm, but I'm writing to say that the idiot is you. There are a few items for which I will give you credit(Note: In hindsight, it may've only been one.), but negative criticism is the majority of what I have to offer your program from this evening.

1) Yes, your interview (Note: Wright interviewed Chiefs defensemen Tank Tyler and Turk McBride; it had been broadcast the previous evening) with Tank and Turk was good, but you ruined most of it this evening by giving yourself props for conducting it in a "well-thought-out, well-researched, felt-good-about-what-I-said" manner. You're an on-air radio personality. You should do that every time you pot up with the 'phones on.

2) Like many media personalities, you insult the listener by assuming you know something they don't. What I mean is that you pretend to know specifics like what coach and/or GM picked particular players in past drafts. Practically in the same breath this evening, you blasted Peterson for the picks of the Vermeil era, then lauded Herm for the selections during his tenure.

This implies that these men have personally told you or a colleague of yours whose pick was whose, and you and I both know that didn't happen in any regard, and never will. It's simply not how the NFL (or its personalities) operates.

3) It takes a lot of nerve to take this mentality to the next level and suggest that there are plenty of other "vacation spots" where a Bill Cowher type would prefer to relocate for employment purposes. Then you backtrack by saying KC is your hometown, you love it here, etc. Real on-air professionals have already touched on this on your station and all of the nationally acclaimed guests interviewed in those slots have agreed that KC is a top-tier attraction for an NFL higher-up.

But on to Herm.

4) You just agreed that 1) Priefer, 2) Solari, 3) (retention of Cunningham), 4) in-game decisions, and 5) clock management are all fair knocks on Herm while the overwhelming argument against his record is not. And that's where you lose credibility. Not matter the stance or the angle you take, this game is about winning on Sundays.

And that, Mr. Wright, is not an accomplishable feat when you make mistakes at all three coordinator positions and simply are incapapble of managing/coaching a game.

(Note: I've said it a million times...) Herman Edwards is a smart man and a good coach. He may be the best of 32 in the NFL @ embodying those two characteristics from Monday-Saturday. Those days, however, are the six of seven in the week that don't matter. Sunday, Mr. Wright, matters. Period.

5) By comparison, Mike Shanahan has been (Note: Naturally, this note was written a week before his firing.) the head coach of the Denver Broncos since 1994. He has accomplished everything a head coach desires, and more. His worst record since assuming that role is 6-10. That means, in his worst campaign, he won as many games as Edwards has in two years. And as you mentioned, you don't count his first year here; Herman Edwards is 6-25 (basically) as the Chiefs head coach.

I don't care what spin he put on it, that 9-7 wildcard spot was a fluke, and a fluke with Dick Vermeil's team. And as we all know, he did the same thing in New York in putting together a "debut season" with Parcells' club; they more or less tanked every season after, and are clearly a better club under (Note: Again, pre-firing.) Eric Mangini. And while it may be a stretch, Tampa won a Super Bowl after Herm was gone and Jon Gruden got things re-tooled.

The fact of the matter remains that Edwards in not a great coach in the NFL, and he never will be. Everyone knows how easy it is to turn things around in today's NFL, courtesy of free agency and the salary cap. Herm is incapable of that task, though.

6) Now, I won't argue staunchly against the belief that he should get one more year, but there are too many intangibles on the line there to take that risk. As Jones puts it, what if you do (keep him around) and he goes 7-9? Are we supposed to believe that they'll go 10-6 in 2010? No. They won't. Not under Edwards.

Finally, you went all-out adolescent by saying that Belichick (were he in Herm's slot these past two years) couldn't even take this team to 15-9 against a Big VII team. And there is where you sound like a fool.

For starters, you take a plausibly easy road by using Belichick. Unfortunately, he's not the best coach in 2008. John Fox, Mike Tomlin, Jeff Fisher, and Tom Coughlin are all better. Why? They have more wins, Nick. More. Wins.

This game is about winning games and if you can't do that, at least play complete games en route to learning how to win. You wanna hang that insufficiency on personnel when you've already admitted that these poor coordinator choices, coupled with the two largest in-game responsibilities an NFL coach has, are all good knocks on Edwards. So, by that assertion, a good company boss can and will be successful by putting the wrong people in place and not knowing what he's doing to gain the edge on his competitors. But he can make quality hires? Can you honestly fail to see the sheer lack of logic and reasoning in this stance you've so boastfully taken?

Frankly, I hope it's been worth the few ego strokes you've gotten; I hope the ratings ploy has been a success. This Chiefs fan, however, hasn't been fooled. I'll likely continue to tune in on occasion, solely for the sake of how this KC Chiefs decision plays out, and for the sake of knowing I have a better understanding of the NFL than a trained, learned, and paid professional claims to.


P.S. You thought that "Freaks Come Out At Night" was by Michael Jackson? Dude...

Mr. Wright's opinions on the coaching genius known as Herman Edwards can be read here.